Becoming Koli Cultura, situated in the midst of the purest Finnish Lakeland and right next to the famous Koli National Park, is a center for nature tourism and culture. Its concept respects national and global nature conservation objectives - and has been carefully designed in accordance with nature protection legislation. Its design brief, investment figures and new architectural drawings were published recently. At the same time, the search for funding and operator began.
The total budget of the project is 102.8 million euros, of which 68.5 million euros is for the hotel and service business. There will be 1252 beds in the center. Of these, 702 beds will be in high-quality hotels, 286 in villas and 264 in 5-star camping area.
The project is coordinated by Finnish family company, Napa-Koli Ltd, which business is focused in responsible tourism and construction sector. Napa-Koli owns the entire 10-hectare area located in a perfect spot, right next to the national park and alongside the existing stream of tourists. The area has a completed city plan that allows the resort to be built.
Koli National Park and its national landscape are at the forefront of Finnish nature sites and attract also international tourists. According to the latest statistics by Metsähallitus, which manages all Finnish national parks, there were 203.400 visitors total in Koli National Park in 2017. The number of visitors is increasing by about 15% at an annual rate.
- Nature tourists need more services to the sites. They are increasingly looking for good-quality accommodation, local food and pampering experiences. For many years, accommodation and services in Koli have been inadequate, says Ari Uusikangas, CEO at Napa-Koli LTD, who has decades of experience in tourism business and demanding construction projects through his companies.
There is traditional cottage accommodation in the Koli area, but the hotel capacity is insufficient and the number of services is weak. Without demanded services, tourists stays in the area will be shorter and economic impact stays low. The only current hotel in Koli, operating within the national park, is at the top of its chain with 100% occupancy especially in high season. Parking area for visitors to the National Park is also inadequate within the park.
- Koli Cultura offers a solution to Koli's problematic traffic situation. It places cars outside the national park and away from the national landscape, but right next to its hiking trails, says Uusikangas.
ENVIRONMENTAL-FRIENDLY CONSTRUCTION AND HIGH-QUALITY DESIGN
In the updated business plan and cash flow calculations, Koli Cultura is divided into five main components: hotel and service business, holiday villas, 5-star camping area, parking center and the center’s own bio-energy plant. The complex includes restaurants, cafes, auditorium and conference rooms, wellness facilities, program services, beach saunas and experience center. The total area is 26.140 sqm plus 9.880 sqm below ground.
- Compact construction increases the comfort of the stay, when services and nature trails are close by and reachable without a car. Construction saves untouched nature around the center. The complex and its landscape is carefully implemented with respect for the national park, says Uusikangas.
Environmental friendliness and the use of organic materials are highlighted in architecture and technological solutions. The design is by internationally respected and rewarded JKMM Architects and Harris-Kjisik Architects. Landscape design is by LOCI landscape architects.
ATTRACTING ASIAN AND EUROPEAN TOURISTS
Koli has very exceptional nature, high altitude differences, large lake Pielinen, diverse vegetation and the world's oldest bedrock. It is special and diverse destination in Finnish nature. Koli is a part of the Finnish Lakeland area, which is particularly fascinating for Asian but also for European tourists. Koli belongs also to the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve, which is a part of UNESCO's global Man and Biosphere network.
- Finland is well reachable. When arriving to Koli from to the world, the main airports are in Joensuu, Kuopio and Kajaani.
- Finland is known thanks to its unique natural environment and wildlife experiences, and the Lakeland brand now attracts international visitors along with the more familiar Lapland area. At the same time, domestic tourism such as day trips to the national parks, are growing strongly. Koli National Park is one of the top destinations and Koli Cultura is now more relevant than ever. Responsibility drives the choices strongly, says Tarja Anunti, Communications Manager at Napa-Koli.
Finnish business development organization, Business Finland, complied a customer segmentation in 2017, focusing on the most growing international tourist groups.
- For the three most relevant target groups for Finnish tourism, nature is the most important motive when choosing a destination. Natural Wonder Hunters want unique and memorable experiences, Activity Enthusiasts appreciate diverse activities - and Nature Explorers prefer to calm down and recharge their batteries in nature. With a wide range of services, a center like Koli Cultura can meet the needs of different customer segments, says Kristiina Hietasaari, Head of Product and Content at Business Finland.
The project has attracted a lot of international interest and has been an example of sustainable tourism project in a number of contexts. The city of Lieksa, where Koli is located, also sees Koli Cultura as the number one project for tourism development in its area.
- Koli Cultura's values and content base will further strengthen Koli's profile as a sustaibale tourist destination, says Jarkko Määttänen, Mayor of Lieksa city.
MORE INFO AND INTERVIEWS
Koli Cultura/Napa-Koli Oy
- Communications Manager Tarja Anunti, +358 40 1848 488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kolicultura.fi/en
- All interviews with CEO Ari Uusikangas through Tarja Anunti
- Mayor Jarkko Määttänen, +358 4010 44001, email@example.com
Business Finland/Visit Finland
- Head of Product and Content, Kristiina Hietasaari, +358 29 46 95653, firstname.lastname@example.org
North Karelia Biosphere Reserve
- Coordinator Timo Hokkanen, +358 40 088 4769, email@example.com